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Patrick J. Conner and Bruce W. Wood

Genetic variation among pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] cultivars was studied using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Using a combination of primers, a unique fingerprint was produced for each of the pecan genotypes studied. The genetic relatedness between 44 cultivars was estimated using more than 100 RAPD markers. Genetic distances based on the simple matching coefficient varied from 0.91 to 0.59. The phenetic dendogram developed from cluster analysis showed relatively weak grouping association. However, cultivars with known pedigrees usually grouped with at least one of the parents and genetic similarity estimates appear to agree with known genetic relationships. Using RAPD information in determining genetic relationships among pecan cultivars with unknown or questionable pedigrees and the integration of that knowledge into the breeding program is discussed.

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

Orchard trees of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] were subjected to combinations of cultural practices inducing differential physiological states so as to assess the potential for culture-related impact on damage to trees by key arthropod pests. Leaf N concentration, leaf water status, and crop load all affected foliar damage by black pecan aphids [BPA; Melanocallis caryaefoliae (Davis)] and pecan leaf scorch mite [PLSM; Eotetranychus hicoriae (McGregor)], as well as second-flush shoot growth. Damage to first-flush foliage in the late season by BPA generally diminished as leaf water status and leaf N concentration increased, but intensified with a reduction in crop load. Conversely, foliage damage by PLSM increased with elevated leaf water status and N concentration, but was unaffected by crop load. First- and second-order interactions for all combinations of cultural treatments conferring differential physiological states affected damage by pests and induction of second-flush shoot growth. Arthropod-induced defoliation on trees receiving highly favorable cultural practices—those producing high leaf N, high leaf water availability, and low crop load—was greater than on trees receiving minimal or lesser cultural inputs. Thus, cultural practices influencing leaf water status, N status, or crop load potentially act and interact to produce both desirable and undesirable side-effects on damage incurred by certain arthropod pests and therefore merit consideration in efforts to develop improved integrated pest management strategies.

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Charles C. Reilly and Bruce W. Wood

Propiconazole, a fungicide, suppressed leaf area of a wide variety of young pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] seedling genotypes but did not reduce leaf area of orchard trees. Leaf area declined linearly as dosage increased from 0.16 to 1.25 mL·L–1. Suppression of leaf area by propiconazole was inversely proportional to leaf age. No reduction of leaf area was detected in orchards where `Cheyenne', `Desirable', and `Pawnee' were treated with three applications (14-day intervals) of fungicide (either propiconazole, fentin hydroxide, or fenbuconazole) from budbreak to early May. Spring application of the three fungicides alone or in combination with zinc sulfate did not influence fruit set. Control of pecan scab [Cladosporium caryigenum (Ell. et Lang) Gottwald] was achieved with either fentin hydroxide or fenbuconazole for the full season, or with early season use of dodine, then propiconazole, and then followed by fentin hydroxide for late-season disease control. Fungicide treatments had no effect on nut weight. These data indicate that fungicides applied to pecan during pollination at commercially recommended dosages and intervals, with or without zinc sulfate, do not adversely influence leaf area or fruit set of orchard trees. Chemical names used: n-dodecylguanidine acetate (dodine); triphenyltin hydroxide (fentin hydroxide); 1-[[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-propyl-1,3-dioxolan-2-yl] methyl]-1H-1,2,4-triazole (propiconazole); α-[2-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]-α-phenyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-propanenitrile (fenbuconazole).

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Louise Ferguson, Harry Shorey, and David L. Wood

Several experimental procedures were used to evaluate the influence of solar radiation on insect infestations in Calimyma and Adriatic variety figs (Ficus carica L.). Direct sunlight eliminated infesting insects and prevented further infestation of ripe figs drying on the ground for at least 10 days. Placement in the shade resulted in 12% insect infestation in figs within 3 days. Figs that fell naturally into sunlit areas contained almost no insects, whereas 31% of figs that fell into dense shade were infested. While ripening figs were still attached to trees, the level of insect infestation was 50% higher on the shady north side than the sunny south south side. The insect pests most frequently encountered in these experiments were nitidulid beetles and their larvae. Disease incidence was not affected by degree of exposure. We propose that cultural techniques to maximize exposure of ripening and drying figs to solar radiation could be developed as important pest management tools.

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Tim Woods, Dwight Wolfe, and Gerald R. Brown

Yield data from a highbush blueberry planting established in 1993 at the Univ. of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Princeton, Ky., was collected over a 5-year period for eight cultivars. The economic impact of yield of each cultivar was calculated for each cultivar using a net present value model based on prevailing market prices and costs of production. These returns were compared across cultivars and an assessment of the economic potential for Kentucky growing conditions was considered. `Duke' and `Sierra' produced the most fruit over the 5-year period of this study. `Duke' was also the earliest ripening cultivar in the planting, with 14.3% of `Duke's fruit ripening during the first week of June. Sunrise also ripened early, with 7.7% of its fruit ripening during the first week of June. Picking for the other cultivars (`Sierra', `Bluecrop', `Blue Gold', `Toro', `Nelson', and `Patriot'), began during the second week of June and was finished for all cultivars by the end of the fourth week of June. An exception was `Nelson', which was picked through the first week of July. Despite relatively low yields observed in the first year of production, `Duke' had the highest net present values for the assumed 12-year life of the planting. The ranking of the other seven cultivars from highest to lowest in terms of their respective net present values was: `Sierra', `Blue Gold', `Bluecrop', `Toro', `Nelson', `Sunrise', and `Patriot'.

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

Foliar feeding by the black pecan aphid [Melanocallis caryaefoliae (Davis)] can cause tremendous economic losses. Evaluations of black aphids on pecan genotypes indicates that both antixenosis and antibiosis-like resistance mechanisms exists. Tests for antixenosis indicated that aphids possess clear preferences for certain genotypes over others and that this preference can be dependent on a water-soluble chemical component of the leaf surface. Aphids also exhibited a “conditioning preference,” in which they preferentially feed on genotypes from which they originated. Antibiosis tests indicated that pecan genotypes influence the reproductive success of aphids already possessing a feeding adaptation to those same pecan genotypes; therefore, an evaluation of 30 cultivars for antibiosis indicated that populations developed only 20% as fast on `Choctaw' and `Alley' as on `Desirable' and `Success'. No cultivar was observed to essentially prevent aphid reproduction.

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Bruce Wood*, Charles Reilly, and Andrew Nyczepir

Nickel (Ni) is an essential nutrient element for higher plants; although, it has generally been ignored. This is because it appeared that Ni deficiency would not likely occur in field situations. This conclusion is because a) Ni content of nearly all soils is thought to be high enough to satisfy plant requirements, and b) plant Ni requirements were thought to be very low. Thus, plant Ni nutriton has been generally ignored. We report here: 1) the discovery of acute Ni deficiency in field plantings of pecan (Carya illinoinensis); 2) the wide variety of symptoms associated with Ni deficient; 3) soil management conditions that cause Ni deficiency; and 4) potential impact of Ni deficiency on management strategies for crops. Observations indicate that Ni deficiencies are occuring on many woody crops in orchard or nursery situations. Evidence indicates that Ni deficiency is likely a factor in many complex disorders of unknown cause affecting a variety of crops. Ni deficiency problems are likely to become increasing common and severe as a result of contemporary management practices. The information presented identifies a need for greater attention to plant Ni nutrition by practitioners of crop husbandry.

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David G. Himelrick and Floyd M. Woods

Generalized recommendations for the southeastern U.S. would typically include soil testing well in advance of establishment. Lime, P, and K should be applied at least 2 weeks before planting. Nitrogen is either broadcast and incorporated before planting or sidedressed 2 to 4 weeks after planting at 30 to 70 kg·ha–1. Additional N at 30 to 65 kg·ha–1 is applied late August to mid-September. A late winter N application at 20 to 30 kg·ha–1 is suggested for sandy soils. On established plantings fertilization takes place at renovation, with P and K being applied based on soil test or foliar analysis results. Nitrogen rates are typically in the range of 35 to 60 kg·ha–1. Later season fertilization generally follows the rates and timings of fall and winter recommendations of the establishment year. Minor nutrients can be limiting on sandy soils and B may be required in a wider range of soil types.

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B.W. Wood and C.C. Reilly

Semi-parasitic evergreen mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens Nutt.) is an increasingly serious weed causing loss of nut yield and tree vigor in pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] orchards of the southeastern United States. Several herbicides and growth regulators were evaluated for efficacy against mistletoe. The dimethylamine salt of 2,4-D proved to be an effective control agent. Ethephon, glyphosate, paraquat dichloride, and polyborate exhibited little or no long-term efficacy. The dimethylamine salt of dicamba also killed mistletoe, but exhibited potential for harming host trees. Dormant season treatment of mistletoe clusters with 2,4-D reduced photosynthesis by about one-third soon after treatment, and by ≈90% from 6 to 16 weeks posttreatment, but clusters did not die until ≈4 months posttreatment. Host limbs, less than ≈3 cm in diameter at the site of mistletoe attachment, usually died within 12 months of 2,4-D treatment of the associated mistletoe cluster. Treatment of entire host trees with 2,4-D did not harm trees if applied prior to ≈1 week of budbreak. Spot treatment of mistletoe clusters, with 2,4-D at 1.2 to 2.4 g·L-1 a.i. (plus 2% crop oil), ≈2 to 3 weeks before budbreak, gave effective long-term control of mistletoe. The inclusion of a crop-oil in the 2,4-D spray greatly increased efficacy. Chemical names used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Bruce W. Wood and Jerry A. Payne

Ground applications of ZnO to large mature pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees in orchards possessing an acidic soil, but with a culturally induced slightly alkaline soil surface zone, were at least as effective as was ZnSO4 for rapidly correcting severe foliar Zn deficiency, improving in-shell nut production, and maintaining kernel quality. Under such soil conditions, light disking of Zn applied at 160 kg·ha-1 from ZnO elevated foliar Zn above the sufficiency level by the second growing season after application; whereas an absence of disking delayed substantial uptake from ZnO until the fourth growing season. ZnO, usually a lower priced Zn source, was as effective as was ZnSO4 for correcting Zn deficiencies via broadcast ground application; however, same season correction of Zn deficiency was best accomplished by the standard practice of using foliar sprays of ZnSO4 rather than by heavy soil applications of either Zn source.